Friday, 25 May 2012

SusChem Spain Annual Assembly

On June 19, SusChem Spain will celebrate its Annual Assembly at the Ministry of Economy and Competitively in Madrid. The main theme of the meeting will be current and future Public-Private cooperation opportunities as a way of improving the competitively of science and technology based business.

Following a welcome address from a ministry speaker, delegates will debate public-private cooperation opportunities in the context of both national and European initiatives. The role of SusChem in stimulating public-private initiatives will be presented and then specific opportunities coming up under the new Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme will be discussed.

The SusChem-led SPIRE Public-Private-Partnership will be presented as well as the Energy Materials Industrial Research Initiative (EMIRI) and also the Biobased Industries PPP.

Registration for the Annual Assembly is free for SusChem members. For non-members of SusChem Spain there is a participation fee of €100 (VAT not included). For more information and registration, please visit the SusChem Spain website.

SusChem at Green Week 2012

The 12th edition of Green Week, Europe’s biggest annual conference on environmental policy, took place 22 to 25 May in Brussels and with this year’s theme of ‘Water - Every Drop Counts – The Water Challenge’ SusChem was a prominent participant.

The message from Green Week was clear: water is a valuable resource that needs to be used properly and sparingly. We must make sure that we have enough for all of its uses and we must avoid polluting our rivers, seas and oceans. Along with all other natural resources, water is one of the most vital for our continued existence on this planet.

SusChem founding partners Cefic (above) and EuropaBio (below) both had stands in the exhibition area together with partner organisations such the Water Technology Platform (WssTP).

ChemWater event
SusChem, WssTP and the European Membrane House (EMH) held an important workshop as part of Green Week on 24 May for the ChemWater FP7 project. The all-day event focused on identifying new tools and methodologies, technology gaps and the needs of other sectors that will be required to reach a water sustainable process industry vision by 2050.

The workshop attracted a good number of participants (see below) and the outputs will be used to revise the ChemWater vision, and as a basis for the European R&D Agenda, in programmes including Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP), European Innovation Partnerships (EIP), and Horizon 2020.

In particular the output of the ChemWater project will be directly linked to the recently adopted EIP on Water, and will provide information to set the priorities for research and innovation in its Strategic Implementation Plan and therefore the reference for future calls. The aim of the EIP on Water is to position Europe as the world leader in sustainable water management by boosting innovation.

Participants got an update on the potential timetable for the Water EIP. The implementation plan was likely to start the drafting process in August with the aim of adoption by December 2012 and the first calls from the EIP being announced in January 2013. Up to €40 million was available for funding of FP7 projects under the EIP and to accommodate the call process the deadline for these FP7 project submissions would be extended into April 2013.

Global tool
Another feature of the workshop was a presentation on the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Global Water Tool. This tool helps companies and organizations map their water use and assess risks relative to their global operations and supply chains.

Find out more about the WBCSD Global Water Tool – and assess own organisation’s water situation – by downloading the tool for free from the WBCSD website.

Other highlights
Two other highlights caught SusChem’s eye at the Green Week exhibition.

Firstly the wealth of knowledge on Water issues to be found in the European Commissions Joint Research Centre (JRC). JRC has just published the first of a series of Science for Water thematic reports. You can find out more here.

Secondly the United Nations European Ad Competition on Water has produced some fantastic images and ideas. See the top 30 finalists in this competition here.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Official Opening for Bio Base Europe

On 11 June 2012, Bio Base Europe will be officially opened by Flemish Minister Kris Peeters and Dutch Minister Maxime Verhagen. Bio Base Europe is Europe’s first open innovation and education centre for the bio-based economy.

The aim of the Bio Base Europe project is to facilitate scale up and optimisation of bioprocesses at pilot plant scale and run pilot production quantities of new bio-based products for testing, and to provide a facility for education and training for process operators for the bio-based industries. At the heart of the project are the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant in Ghent, Belgium and the Bio Base Europe Training Centre in Terneuzen, the Netherlands.

In 2009 the €21 million INTERREG project Europe was proclaimed best inter regional project in Europe.

The inauguration ceremony will cover both sites: starting at the pilot plant in Ghent and then moving to the training centre in Terneuzen. In both locations there will be guided tours for participants.

The ceremonies kick off at 15.00 with a reception at the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant in Ghent and speeches by ex- SusChem board member Wim Soetaert of Ghent University, Sas van Rouveroij President of Bio Base Europe and Flemish Minister-President and Minister of Economy, Foreign Policy and Agricultural and Rural Policy, Kris Peeters who will officially inaugurate the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant.

The party then travels to Terneuzen for a second reception at the Bio Base Europe Training Centre with presentations by Gert-Jan van der Brugge, President of the Bio Base Europe Training Centre Foundation, Ben de Reu, President Bio Base Europe and Dutch Vice-minister-President and Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, Maxime Verhagen followed by the ceremonial inauguration of the facility.

For more information on Bio Base Europe and the opening ceremony visit the project website.

Friday, 18 May 2012

SusChem at IndTech 2012

It is just a month until the doors open for the Industrial Technologies 2012 event in Aarhus, Denmark and SusChem will be involved throughout the proceedings. The three-day event that begins on 19 June will see high profile speakers from industry, government and research debate the future of European research and industry, consider how Europe can succeed in the face of global competition, and discuss the form and impact of the forthcoming European Commission Framework Programme for Research and Innovation: Horizon 2020.

SusChem will be providing speakers for a number of the conference sessions on each day of the conference and will be present in the exhibition area throughout. SusChem is an official Media Partner of the event.

SusChem programme
Industrial Technologies 2012 includes five plenary sessions covering ‘Visions for 2020’, ‘European Industry in 2020’, ‘Innovation in Industrial Technologies’, ‘International Cooperation’, and ‘NMP in Horizon 2020’. In addition, some 18 other conference sessions and 15 workshop sessions form a packed programme.

SusChem highlights for the first day will see Pierre Joris, Chief Science & Innovation Officer at Solvay will contribute on behalf of SusChem to the second plenary session on ‘European Industry in 2020’at 11:00. An interview recorded with Pierre at the SusChem 2012 Stakeholder is available below.

Pierre Joris at SusChem 2012

SusChem’s public private partnership innovation initiative SPIRE will be the main focus of the ‘Resource Efficient Process Industries’ session on the afternoon of 19 June. Speakers will include SusChem board member Peter Nagler of Evonik and Jean Pierre Birat from Acelor Mittal.

SPIRE and this session were the topic of the first ‘Hot Topics’ bulletin issued by the Industrial Technologies 2012 organisers and highlighting the potentially huge positive impact of this SusChem inspired initiative on European industry, the environment and competitiveness.

Further SusChem contributions on the first day will be to sessions on ‘Low Emission Transportation Industry’ and ‘Fostering European Competence and Competitiveness through Innovation’.

Day two and three
On June 20 SusChem contributes to four sessions. In the morning Gernot Klotz of Cefic will address the session organized by NANOfutures. In the afternoon Gernot will also address the session on ‘Reducing Time to Market’, while Michael Roeper of BASF will contribute to the session on ‘Critical Raw Materials’ the subject of a proposed European Innovation Partneship (EIP). SusChem will also contribute to the presentation of the EIP on Water to the afternoon session on ‘Quality of Life improving the availability of water’.

On the final day SusChem education initiatives including the Educate to Innovate project will be presented to the session on ‘Competence Building for Industrial Competitiveness’ session and a couple of speakers are contributing to the ‘Industrial Symbiosis’ session.

Finally SusChem chairman Klaus Sommer will be speaking during the closing plenary covering how NMP is likely to be reflected in Horizon 2020, in terms of the approaches, funding and developments that will affect this area. The session is described as an ‘Industrial Technologies Declaration’.

One-stop shop
Industrial Technologies 2012 takes place in the Concert Hall in Aarhus and offers a one-stop shop for integrated coverage of nanoscience and nanotechnology, materials, and new production processes (NMP). The programme highlights the knowledge intensive products and processes driving European growth to 2020 and will help to identify solutions to improve the framework conditions for innovation in Europe.

Several sessions will look at those products and processes where Europe can build or maintain global leadership in the next decade; these may include mass producing low emission vehicles, making new buildings net energy producers, or offering new therapies enabled by developments in nanomedicine. These areas will require input from all areas of NMP, and will bring together researchers and industry to address both technical and non-technical challenges.

Industrial Technologies 2012 will point to specific, actionable solutions that will ensure that European industry can achieve its full potential for innovation.

SusChem contributed to the steering group which developed the programme content.

Industrial Technologies 2012 is supported by the European Commission DG Research and Innovation and its Industrial Technologies Programme and is a highlight of the Danish Presidency of the European Council.

More information
More in formation on the programme for Industrial Technologies can be found here and details of registration here. Visit the Industrial Technologies 2012 website for the full details and insights on the numerous sessions taking place.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

SusChem, WssTP alliance signed

The new collaboration agreement between SusChem and the European Technology Platform for Water (WssTP) was formally signed during the closing session of the Water Innovation EU conference held in Brussels on 15 and 16 May.

The agreement was signed in the presence of European Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik (middle above). Gernot Klotz Executive (left) Director of Research and Innovation at Cefic signed on behalf of SusChem and Thomas Michel (right) the recently elected President of WssTP signed for the Water platform.

Earlier Commissioner Potocnik had spoken about the priority of water issues in DG Environment policy communications. He saw the recently announced European Innovation Partnership on Water as a great opportunity. Facilitating implementation of the EIP is one of the primary objectives of the collaboration agreement.

Water will be the main focus of next week's Green Week event, the annual showcase for the environemnt organised by the European Commission DG Environment. Both SusChem and WssTP will be taking an active role in Green Week 2012 in particular the FP7 project ChemWater is holding a satelitte event on 24 May.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Eco-industries and Life Cycle Thinking

SusChem and Cefic were at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) Eco-industries conference in Brussels today (15 May). Sessions covered air quality, waste management, renewables, energy efficiency and water management. SusChem activities in the water sector including the forthcoming European Innovation Partnership (EIP) were presented.

Before the start of the conference, the Cefic-SusChem stand in the exhibition area was visited by Research Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn (centre below) and Paul Rubig MEP (left) who talked with Gernot Klotz, Cefic Executive Director of Research and Innovation. A short video including the Commissioner's visit (at ~1'58") is embedded at th end of this blog article.

Opening the conference, Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn said: “The eco-industry is already a major player and promises great things for our society and our economy. The Europe 2020 Strategy identifies these [eco-industry] sectors as key contributors to sustainable growth and the shift towards a resource efficient, greener and more competitive low carbon economy.” Her full speech can be found here.

Water management
Describing the chemical sector’s vital role in driving innovation in the session on water management Gernot Klotz (below) stated that “solving the water challenge was critical to enable the growth of the future bioeconomy.”

Chemistry is involved in improvements for water quality, quantity and energy efficiency. Cefic has recently launched a water issues website that explains the impact of chemical innovation on improving water resources.

The launch of the EIP on Water is very welcome and the chemical and water sectors are working very closely together to ensure that the challenge on water in Europe is addressed.

Life Cycle Thinking
Reinforcing the drive to eco-industries a new report also published today by the JRC provides key information for policy makers and business managers on how to assess the environmental impacts of products and services. It will help to pave the way towards a resource-efficient Europe and aims to help design more sustainable products. Two objectives that SusChem, in particular through its SPIRE PPP initiative, is working to achieve.

Life Cycle Thinking is key to making substantial improvements in the environmental performance of goods and services. This concept looks at the environmental impact of production, distribution and consumption activities from cradle to grave, quantifying the environmental impact of products from the extraction of natural resources to product recycling or waste disposal.

The Commission’s 2011 Communication on a resource-efficient Europe, a flagship initiative under the Europe 2020 Strategy, takes these developments to the next stage, as it promotes taking a life-cycle approach to reducing the environmental impacts of resource use in the EU. It is clearly important that a consistent analytical approach is used.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Chemical and Water sectors to work together to boost EIP

Today (May 14) SusChem and the Water supply and sanitation Technology Platform (WssTP) announced plans to renew their long-standing alliance for the benefit of sound water management in Europe. The reinforced strategic partnership will combine assets and develop innovative water management systems on an unprecedented scale. With wide-ranging support from European institutions, this collaboration on key priorities will include the implementation of the European Innovation Partnership on Water also announced today by the European Commission.

The agreement is a new approach to advancing water management in Europe. It pairs the chemical sector’s track record of game-changing solutions across industry sectors with the water industry’s strong innovation potential. It is also a natural fit: the chemical industry is one of the biggest water-consuming industries and one of the biggest providers of water treatment materials and technologies.

The partnership is breaking new ground, allowing both sectors to speak with one voice – a real asset in a fragmented water area where multiple approaches coexist at the national, regional and sectorial levels. WssTP and SusChem will be mapping the way forward in critical fields such as:

  • Best practices in integrated water management systems: Urban-Industrial-Rural
  • Development of enhanced materials, process technologies, systems and services
  • Process efficiency of water use, including energy aspects.

High impact
"Together, the chemical and water sectors are ready to provide high-impact, cutting-edge solutions to one of Europe’s most pressing challenges and, clearly, no one sector can tackle this alone,” SusChem chairman Klaus Sommer says. “Value chain collaboration is engrained in SusChem’s vision and the focus is on impact: along the way, we expect to deliver value well beyond what either of our industries can accomplish individually.”

“WssTP’s vision is that by 2030 the European water sector will be regarded as the global leader in the provision of sustainable water services. We realize that climate and demographic changes, together with rising environmental standards mean that we must find step change solutions to these challenges,” WssTP President Mike Farrimond says. “Working with SusChem will enable us to avoid replication of effort and ensure that together we have a voice which will be listened to.”

Water has been a key priority for SusChem for some time. As water is used intensively in agricultural and industrial sectors and for public use, integrated water management has become an imperative. A symbiotic approach holds the key to deliver safe, clean, affordable water to all European citizens.

Water EIP announced
The news comes as the European Commission announced the launch of a new European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on water, in which the chemical industry is positioned to be one of two main actors. The partnership is part of the EU’s Innovation Union strategy and aims to boost European innovation in water management by getting promising ideas, products and technologies to market faster.

Announcing the EIP Environment Commissioner Janez Poto─Źnik said: "The European Innovation Partnership on Water will help ensure that we can continue to provide safe, available and affordable water for all, by supporting the development of innovative solutions to deal with water challenges – while simultaneously aiming to position Europe as a world leader in water technology and services."

“Making Europe a global leader in water management requires this type of partnership. The chemical industry must play a leading role to make it happen,” commented Gernot Klotz, Cefic executive director for research and innovation. “There is great potential for innovation in both the water and chemical sectors. The partnership should be a strong double-act.”

Around 57% of freshwater use can be attributed to industry. Energy production alone requires nearly three-fourths of industrial water demand, or 45%, of total freshwater use. Industrial processes require the remaining 12%. Intensive use of freshwater also occurs in agriculture, where 22% of freshwater is needed, followed by the general public at 21%. All three users compete most for the resource in Europe, increasing the need for an integrated approach to water management. The partnership announced today provides scale, vast expertise in water innovation and a proven ability to execute.

The EIP on Water has ambitious objectives, including the need to reduce household water consumption, increase water efficiency in irrigation, decrease the water footprint of all industries, minimise water loss in distribution systems and reduce the energy used in the water sector.

Klotz added: “The collaboration with the water sector is a natural fit because the chemical industry has built a track record of offering technologies and products that are vital to many industries, including the water sector.”

New website, projects
To coincide with the new initiatives in the sector Cefic has launched a new website on water issues (see screenshot below). The site demonstrates the role of chemistry in integrated water management in Europe.

SusChem is already involved in the ChemWater FP7 project. This initiative addresses a key pan-European concern: the efficient management of water in process industry. ChemWater intends to coordinate European strategies on sustainable materials, processes and emerging technologies development. The project started in May 2011 and ends in October 2013.

Another FP7 project with SusChem involvement will be E4Water: Economically and Ecologically Efficient Water Management in the European Chemical Industry. The project should launch later this month.

For more information on SusChem’s water-related activities, please contact Antonia Morales-Perez at Cefic.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Tools and Methods for Sustainable Water Use in the Process Industry

ChemWater, the FP7 project involving SusChem, the Water Technology Platform (WssTP) and the European Membrane House (EMH) is holding an important workshop as part of the European Commission’s Green Week. The workshop that takes place on 24 May will focus on new tools and methodologies, identify technology gaps and consider the needs of other sectors that are required to reach a water sustainable process industry by 2050.

During the ChemWater workshop participants will identify gaps that will prevent the achievement of the vision established by a previous workshop on March 2012. And the results of the 24 May workshop will be used as a basis for the European R&D Agenda, in programmes including Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP), European Innovation Partnerships (EIP), Horizon 2020, etc.

The 24 May workshop is an opportunity for participants to bring forward their ideas for these research and innovation programmes. In the morning the vision developed at the previous workshop will be described, additional aspects sought in small group discussions, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Global Water Tool will be presented. This tool helps companies and organizations map their water use and assess risks relative to their global operations and supply chains.

After lunch aspects of the proposed Water EIP will be outlined, new methods for collaboration discussed, a spectrum of challenges identified and appropriate requirements for tools developed.

If you wish to participate in the discussions and want to attend the workshop, then please send an email preferably before May 15th to Inge Huiskes at TNO indicating your name and affiliation.

ChemWater at Green Week

The objective of the ChemWater project is to build a vision and a roadmap on sustainable water use in the chemical industry that could be applied to other sectors. Roadmaps will support identification of technology and knowledge gaps and roadblocks, and will give direction to future challenges and opportunities. The roadmaps will provide a framework for coordination of development of activities across sectors.

The output of the ChemWater project will be directly linked to the imminent European Innovation Partnership on Water, and will provide information to set the priorities for research and innovation in the Strategic Implementation Plan of this EIP and therefore the reference for future calls. The aim of the EIP on Water is to position Europe as the world leader in sustainable water management by boosting innovation.

The venue for this official “Green Week 2012 satellite event” is the Hotel Silken Berlaymont situated close to the main Brussels venue: the Charlemagne building. The 12th edition of Green Week, Europe’s biggest annual conference on environmental policy, takes place from 22 to 25 May in Brussels and this year the theme is ‘Water’.

Green Week 2012 is expected to attract several thousands participants from government, business and industry, non-governmental organisations, academia and the media.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

European Chemicals Sector publishes first-ever Sustainability Report

Today (8 May) Cefic launched its sustainable development vision at a special event at the European Parliament in Brussels. The European chemical industry is determined to play a key role in ensuring that by 2050 the world population of over nine billion people can live within the resources of the planet.

The evening event marked the publication of Cefic’s first-ever sustainability report: ‘The Chemical Industry in Europe: Towards Sustainability'.

The report presents a vision of how the chemicals industry will help meet future challenges and was unveiled in the European Parliament (below) at a special event hosted by MEPs Karl-Heinz Florenz and Vittorio Prodi. The report provides 17 key performance indicators that serve as a benchmark of ongoing industry sustainability initiatives that the sector can measure future progress against.

Cefic President Giorgio Squinzi, outlining the report’s vision, said: “All of the industry’s activities will be directed towards enabling a future where people have access to the necessities of a healthy life, to economic prosperity and to societal progress.”

Three pillars

The 70-page report details the three “pillars” of sustainability - planet, people and profit – and includes case studies drawn from across Europe that illustrate contributions to sustainability, including energy-efficient water purification, lightweight materials for cars and better building insulation.

Carl Van Camp, Cefic Sustainability Strategy Group chairman, said: “[The chemical industry has] a good track record when it comes to sustainability, and remains committed to programmes like Responsible Care. We are a partner in ensuring that the REACH chemicals legislation works and stand ready to have a lead role in EU-led public-private projects such as key enabling technologies.”

Initiatives such as SusChem – and its predecessor programme SusTech – have played and will continue to play a key role in the chemical sector’s commitment to enabling sustainable development.

The European chemical industry is in no doubt that sustainability is not an option but an absolute necessity, not only for the industry itself, but for all businesses and society as a whole. Cefic hopes that the report will stimulate a genuine dialogue on what can be achieved if industry, academia, government and society at large work together.

Sustainable start point

The Cefic report will serve as a starting point in developing a sustainability framework for the European chemicals industry. It will also help the trade group identify flagship initiatives to increase and improve the sector’s contribution to the sustainability policy agenda, which includes environmental, health and safety, and chemicals management practices.

Squinzi concluded: “Sustainability is about a mindset change in the way we work and high-tech products the chemicals industry makes. The flagship initiatives are one way in which stakeholders expect us to continue to drive the technological breakthroughs that society will need.

“We can help ensure a sustainable future by working with stakeholders, having a well-trained workforce in place, and through strong business performance that attracts further investments.”

The full report can be downloaded direct from the Cefic website.